Kori SchulmanJuly 27, 2011
07:14 PM EDT
Continuing White House Office Hours, Brian Deese, Deputy Director of the National Economic Council, answered your questions on Twitter. Have a look at the Q&A on the debt debate below or over on Storify.
July 27, 2011
05:57 PM EDT
Yesterday, a group of Wounded Warriors visited the south lawn of the White House to play a game of basketball. Ten Marines arrived from Bethesda Naval Medical Center, donned jerseys, and took some practice layups before the game. As they warmed up, they got pointers from NBA players Greg Monroe and Jeff Green, who came in from Detroit and Boston to show their appreciation for the troops. After a few minutes, the game got underway. It was off to a fast start, but a time-out was called as President Obama walked onto the court.
The President thanked the Marines for the service they had provided and the tremendous sacrifices they had made for their country. He spent some time talking with the Wounded Warriors, and then the group took a picture before the game resumed again.
Wounded Warrior basketball is an important opportunity for injured troops as they return home, according to HM1 Jason Young, a Navy Corpsman who helped organize the game. “What it allows the Wounded Warriors to do is to understand that they can still do some of the stuff that they’ve done before.”
“The guys here all have really great attitudes about everything,” said Corporal Tony Mullis, who played on the Red Team. “They’re not down – that’s why they decided to come here and play basketball at the White House. It’s a great experience.” Mullis was injured by an IED blast while performing combat operations in Afghanistan.
“One of the things I’ve always wanted to do was meet the President,” he added. “It was awesome.”
Ten Wounded Warriors were able to come to the White House yesterday, but all veterans and their families deserve our thanks and our support. To find out what you can do to pitch in, check out joiningforces.gov.
Darienne Page is Assistant Director of the Office of Public Engagement.
July 27, 2011
02:19 PM EDT
As a young woman with Cerebral Palsy, I learned at a young age that if I let my disability stop me from reaching my goals, I would be promoting a common misconception that disability is equal to inability. So, when I was offered an internship at the White House working for Kareem Dale doing outreach this summer, I could not let the opportunity pass. I had no idea what my internship would entail, how I would manage my expenses, and most importantly, if this new city would be accessible, but when I got to Washington, what I saw inspired me.
Each day, whether I'm trying to get a seat on the metro, ride an elevator, or cross a busy street on my way to work, I see people from the disability community going places and accomplishing things that would not be possible without the standards that have been set by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). It's amazing to think that just over two decades ago, society put up barriers that prevented people like me from riding a bus, driving a car or doing the things that many take for granted every day.
Stephanie CutterJuly 27, 2011
12:25 PM EDT
Today, patients suffering from diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and heart disease and their families got good news when a federal judge ruled in favor of the government in a lawsuit challenging the Obama Administration’s work to support stem cell research.
While we don’t know exactly what stem cell research will yield, scientists believe this research could treat or cure diseases that affect millions of Americans every year. That’s why President Obama has long fought to support responsible stem cell research.
Less than three months after taking office in 2009, the President signed an Executive Order that removed barriers to responsible scientific research involving human stem cells. The previous Administration allowed the National Institutes of Health to fund human embryonic stem cell research on cell lines created before an arbitrary date, August 9, 2001, but prohibited research on cell lines created after that date. The Executive Order signed by President Obama lifted this restriction.
Since then, scientists and experts in the private sector and at the National Institutes of Health have been investigating new responsible research opportunities with stem cell lines that adhere to the new guidelines, but were not available to experts under the old restrictions.
For too long, patients and families have suffered from debilitating, incurable diseases and we know that stem cell research offers hope to millions of Americans across the country. President Obama is committed to supporting responsible stem cell research and today’s ruling was another step in the right direction.
Stephanie Cutter is Assistant to the President and Deputy Senior Advisor
Katelyn SabochikJuly 27, 2011
09:37 AM EDT
With just three days left for federal employees to submit their cost-saving ideas as part of the third annual SAVE Award, White House Chief of Staff William Daley, sent the email below to all federal employees who've participated in the SAVE Award in previous years.
If you're a federal employee, we want to hear from you! Submit your cost saving ideas or tell us what you think of ideas submitted by your colleagues. Get Started at WhiteHouse.gov/Save-Award.
Kori SchulmanJuly 26, 2011
09:03 PM EDT
In our first session of White House Office Hours, Brian Deese, Deputy Director of the National Economic Council, answered your questions on the President's speech last night and the ongoing deficit debate. Check out the whole Twitter Q&A below or over on Storify.
Macon PhillipsJuly 26, 2011
08:00 PM EDTThe American people may have voted for divided government, but they didn’t vote for a dysfunctional government. So I’m asking you all to make your voice heard. If you want a balanced approach to reducing the deficit, let your member of Congress know. If you believe we can solve this problem through compromise, send that message.At this end of Pennsylvania Avenue, we've noticed a bump in messages from Americans – email is coming in at nearly 5 times the normal rate. About half of those emails were from people interested in the President’s ongoing efforts to find a balanced approach to reducing the deficit and ensuring that the US government lives up to its financial obligations. Contrary to some reports, the White House Switchboard noted a slight increase in calls, but functioned normally throughout the day. Here are a few excerpts of what people are saying:"Please continue to work and speak out for an end to the partisanship. Both sides in this bitter battle need to knock it off and work together. Revenue increases as well as intelligent entitlement reforms to cut waste and fraud are needed to deal with the debt and deficit issues.""Mr. President I urge you to consider your place in history, and not merely the moment. You have an opportunity to create an effective, lasting legacy. One in which Americans may be proud. The true mark of some our greatest Presidents is this same issue which now confronts you.Compromise. Please recall that you are a Servant, and it is the will of the people that you compromise- and pass a fair bill regarding the debt of this country.""I support smart increases in taxes, but the cuts you have outlined are insufficient. I don't see a plan from any party that begins to even cover the deficit let alone the debt. Any family knows you have to make more than you spend. I have to balance my budget every month, why doesn't the Federal Government?"We've also kept our eye on our social media accounts, including Twitter. In fact, we just wrapped up our first session of "Office Hours" - an online Q & A with NEC Deputy Director Brian Deese. We were also impressed with the number of people who reposted speech excerpts we published through the @WhiteHouse account while the President was speaking last night.
Jack LewJuly 26, 2011
07:56 PM EDT
The CBO just released its analysis of the debt ceiling extension and deficit reduction plan that the House of Representatives is considering. We have been clear in our opposition to this bill, and the President explained why last night.
While we disagree with the approach that Speaker Boehner chose to take in this bill, there is one thing that we all still agree on, and that is the size of the problem. Both the House Republican budget proposal unveiled by Congressman Ryan on April 5 and the President’s fiscal framework that he introduced on April 13, set as our goal deficit reduction of $4 trillion. Since both of these plans were introduced before the agreement on appropriations for FY 2011, the baseline used for them did not reflect the spending cuts enacted this year in that legislation. Indeed, throughout our weeks of talks, all parties have worked off a January baseline because we all recognized that we needed to start from the same place.
July 26, 2011
05:51 PM EDT
On Monday evening, President Obama delivered an address to the nation on the consequences the stalemate in Congress could have on the stability of our economy. Here is what a bipartisan sampling of Governors and Mayors from across the country are saying:
“We hope that at the end of the day, both sides come together and recognize that there does need to be a balanced approach, because a balanced approach is what solves the problem. The reality is the Republicans aren’t going to get 100 percent of what they want and the Democrats aren’t going to get 100 percent of what they want.” – Mayor Scott Smith, Mesa, AZ
“Last night, President Obama once again demonstrated that he clearly understands that the key to winning the future includes a renewed commitment to fiscal responsibility. New Orleanians and residents in cities across our country can’t afford to let the partisan politics of Washington, D.C., dictate whether or not the United States meets its financial obligations and whether we can meet the needs of the future. We in New Orleans certainly cannot afford the consequences of a downgraded credit rating or government shutdown if the country defaults on its debt.” – Mayor Mitch Landrieu, New Orleans, LA
Macon PhillipsJuly 26, 2011
04:14 PM EDT
One of the fundamental things to understand when considering the debate about reducing our national debt is how we accumulated so much in the first place.
To explain the impact various policies have had over the past decade, shifting us from projected surpluses to actual deficits and, as a result, running up the national debt, the White House has developed a graphic for you to review and share:
As you can see, we've also included a quote from President Obama's speech last night that sums up the basic issues:
For the last decade, we’ve spent more money than we take in. In the year 2000, the government had a budget surplus. But instead of using it to pay off our debt, the money was spent on trillions of dollars in new tax cuts, while two wars and an expensive prescription drug program were simply added to our nation’s credit card.
As a result, the deficit was on track to top $1 trillion the year I took office. To make matters worse, the recession meant that there was less money coming in, and it required us to spend even more -– on tax cuts for middle-class families to spur the economy; on unemployment insurance; on aid to states so we could prevent more teachers and firefighters and police officers from being laid off. These emergency steps also added to the deficit.
Because neither party is blameless for the decisions that led to this problem, both parties have a responsibility to solve it.
Kori SchulmanJuly 26, 2011
01:26 PM EDT
Ed. Note: This post will be updated with upcoming chances to join Office Hours and you can see what you missed during past sessions.
We're trying something new on our social networks -- starting this week, senior staff at the White House will hold regular "Office Hours" to answer your questions on a host of issues and topics.
Use the hashtag #WHChat on Twitter to ask administration officials your questions on President Obama’s speech and the ongoing deficit debate. White House staff will respond to your questions in real-time via Twitter during Office Hours. Check back for more chances to engage and follow @WhiteHouse for the latest updates.
Here's what you missed during past Office Hours:
- Office Hours 8/3/11 or "Shoeless at Work": Office Hours with Brian Deese
- Office Hours 8/2/11 or "The American People Won In This #Compromise": Jason Furman Answers Your Questions on Twitter
- Office Hours 8/1/11 or "Important Win 4 Economy": Brian Deese Answers Your Questions on Twitter
- Office Hours 7/29/11 or "Time Flies When You're Tweeting": Brian Deese Answers Your Questions on Twitter
- Office Hours 7/29/11 or "#Compromise": Jason Furman Answers Your Questions on Twitter
- Office Hours 7/28/11 or "GREAT question": Brian Deese Answers Your Questions on Twitter
- Office Hours 7/28/1 or "My First Time Tweeting": Jason Furman Answers Your Questions on Twitter
- Office Hours 7/27/11 or "What is POTUS?": Brian Deese Answers Your Questions on Twitter
- Office Hours 7/26/11 or "Budget Wonks Unite": Brian Deese Answers Your Questions on Twitter
Karen MillsJuly 26, 2011
12:05 PM EDT
Ed. Note: Cross posted from the SBA's Open for Business blog
Startups and “high-growth” small businesses are responsible for the lion’s share of net new job creation in the U.S. each year. That’s a key reason that we launched an Administration-wide effort called Startup America earlier this year.
As a critical part of that, SBA made a commitment to invest up to $1 billion in underserved communities and emerging sectors over the next 5 years.
Today, we were delighted to announce the first public-private partnership of this Impact Investment Fund. This first effort will focus on growing businesses in Michigan.
First, the need is there. Unemployment is high in Michigan, with over 90% of counties in economic distress as defined by the Commerce Department. It’s an economy in transition.
Erin LindsayJuly 26, 2011
10:55 AM EDT
Yesterday, the 2010 World Series Champion San Francisco Giants visited the White House to be honored by President Obama. In addition to congratulating them on their victory, the President also recognized the efforts the Giants make to give back to their community:
This team has also made a point of giving back -- whether it’s supporting wounded warriors and their families, or becoming the first professional sports team to join the “It Gets Better” campaign against bullying.
While they were here, the Giants took some time to thank you - our fans and followers on Facebook and Twitter for giving back in your own community.
We asked you how you’re giving back and we got some great responses:
July 26, 2011
09:46 AM EDT
Last week, 25 rising 10th and 11th graders from Elbert and Madison Counties in Georgia were welcomed to the White House. These students are part of the University of Georgia Teens and Planners program, and they took the opportunity to share their stories and program with White House staff.
The Teens as Planners are a collaboration between the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension, the United States Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture, and other county and community partners. In 2009, a select group of roughly 25 at risk students were recruited to participate in this program. Since then, they have been working with dedicated mentors to develop the skills needed to lead positive and productive lives, defined by service to their community and workforce development.
During the visit, the teens explained the many projects they are undertaking in their community. The Teens and Planners typically work before and after school, dedicating much of their time outside of the classroom to service. Their projects are centered on opportunities which allow them to leave behind lasting impacts in their community.
One student discussed the group’s work on the Bowman Park Beautification Project, where they are hoping to improve the park by renovating, repairing and restoring the park. They are repairing bathrooms, removing and replacing broken equipment and beatifying the landscape of the park. Once they have completed their work, they will have provided the community with a park that is once again able to serve the recreational needs of the people in Bowman.
Another teen described the work they are doing to provide fresh food to community members who do not regularity have access to locally grown produce. The students have been working with groups from across the community to weed and harvest a Victory Farm. Once the produce is ripe, they deliver the food to the local food bank. In 2012, they plan to continue their work and expand on the amount of produce harvested for the local community.
In addition to these students commitment to service through the Teens and Planners program, they are actively learning about government and community organizations. The students asked about government, politics and found out how they could get more involved.
At the end of their visit, one student summarized what they hope to accomplish through this program. “I want to look back and be able to say that I made a difference and I left my footprints on this earth in some way.”
Just like these students from Georgia, young people from all over the country are taking the lead and winning the future.
Colleen CurtisJuly 25, 2011
09:20 PM EDT
With eight days until our nation faces an unprecedented financial crisis, the President addressed the nation on the consequences the stalemate in Congress could have on the stability of our economy.
Here are some key passages from his remarks
The debate right now isn’t about whether we need to make tough choices. Democrats and Republicans agree on the amount of deficit reduction we need. The debate is about how it should be done. Most Americans, regardless of political party, don’t understand how we can ask a senior citizen to pay more for her Medicare before we ask a corporate jet owner or the oil companies to give up tax breaks that other companies don’t get. How can we ask a student to pay more for college before we ask hedge fund managers to stop paying taxes at a lower rate than their secretaries? How can we slash funding for education and clean energy before we ask people like me to give up tax breaks we don’t need and didn’t ask for?
July 25, 2011
07:09 PM EDT
July 25, 2011
06:39 PM EDT
Ed. Note: Cross posted from the Department of Transportation’s Fast Lane blog
Because Congress failed to pass legislation giving the Federal Aviation Administration the necessary operating authority, FAA employees have been furloughed, construction workers have been sent home from their jobs, and communities are being hurt.
Dozens of stop work orders have been issued for construction on major projects to build and modernize air traffic control towers and other airport and aviation infrastructure across the country.
Already this morning, Paul Scariano, Inc., the contractor on a tower demolition project at La Guardia Airport, had to turn away 40 workers. "It wasn't easy telling them we've been shut down because of a fiscal situation in Washington," said supervisor Lucca Toscano. "Some of these guys just got back to work after a long time, and their benefits have all expired. So for them this is like running into a brick wall, and they're asking me, 'How do we explain this to our families?' I don't know what to say to them."
Katelyn SabochikJuly 25, 2011
05:01 PM EDT
Tonight at 9 p.m. EDT President Obama will address the nation on the stalemate in Washington over avoiding default and the best approach to cutting deficits.
Watch the speech live tonight at WhiteHouse.gov/live and engage with Administration Officials all week.
Starting tomorrow, White House Administration Officials will hold "Office Hours" on our social networks to answer your questions about the President’s speech and the ongoing deficit debate. Brian Deese, Deputy Director of the National Economic Council and Special Assistant to the President, will be answering your questions on Twitter tomorrow at 5:00 p.m. EDT. Ask your questions with the hashtag #WHChat and stay tuned for opportunities to engage throughout week.
July 25, 2011
04:10 PM EDT
Yesterday Dr. Jill Biden had the chance to participate in an annual event called “Operation Thank You!” in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Launched in 2004 as a way to thank and honor the military and their families for all of their sacrifice, Operation Thank You! has grown into one of the most successful military appreciation events in New England – raising funds and giving thousands of military families a day of well-deserved fun and recognition.
Dr. Biden spoke to the crowd and met with many of the families in attendance, and she thanked the various sponsors and organizers for doing their part. The event was a great example of the types of action and outreach we are trying to encourage around the country through the Joining Forces initiative. To make Operation Thank You! a success, businesses, nonprofit organizations, religious groups and individuals from the local community stepped up and offered services and support.
July 25, 2011
11:01 AM EDT
Today, I am proud to stand with my colleagues from across the Administration as we unveil a comprehensive, cutting-edge strategy – the Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime – that will take our nation’s fight against transnational organized crime to the next level.
Not only will this new strategy allow us to integrate our work more effectively, and to leverage limited resources more efficiently, it also will ensure that our agencies – and our government and law enforcement partners – have the tools and authorities necessary to protect the American people from some of today’s most urgent, and complex, threats.
Of course, the problem of transnational organized crime networks isn’t new. But after a wide-ranging, year-long review – the first study of its kind in more than 15 years – our understanding of what exactly we’re up against has never been clearer or more complete.
A unique view of 2012